Why at THF?

7 good reasons for a transformation centre at THF 

Berliners love their field. They use it for recreation, sports and hobbies. It is one of the most important places in the city for meeting and regeneration, and one that can become a location for change. This is not entirely uncomplicated: the field is contaminated with explosive ordnance and paraffin – food cultivation is only possible in raised beds. Making the building usable is also costly: it has never been completely finished, and most of the 7620 rooms are empty. Even the most necessary renovation was postponed or delayed. What could be done was more expensive than expected. We know that. All that being said: there are very good reasons for setting up Germany’s first transformation centre for all right here:

THF loves civil society

Das Feld ist nur deshalb unbebaut und damit frei für die Utopie von unten, weil die Berliner Stadtgesellschaft es so will: Zivilgesellschaftliche Initiativen wie 100% THF haben mit hunderten Freiwilligen eine beeindruckende Bewegung geschaffen. Ihr Erfolg veränderte die Stadt. 2014 sprach sich die Mehrheit der Berliner:innen in einem Volksentscheid dafür aus, dass das Tempelhofer Feld Gemeingut wird. Spätestens seitdem weiß Berlin, was Demokratie wirklich heißt: dass wir entscheiden. An diese wunderbare Episode knüpfen wir an.

We know more today

At the time, 100% THF deliberately refrained from presenting a utilisation concept. The future was supposed to show what Berlin’s urban society would need the undeveloped field for one day. Et voilà, here we are. Six years later. The climate crisis has arrived in the consciousness and in the landscape. City trees dry out and have to be watered. Farmers in Brandenburg are fighting against desertification. The Harz Mountains and many other regions are losing their unique forests to the bark beetle. It is time that we adapt our coexistence, our work and our economy to this change.

We learn from history

The history of Tempelhof Airport has shaped the fate of Berliners before. During the blockade after the Second World War, it was used to supply the city’s population. Today, we are going one step further: we are learning to provide for ourselves at this significant site. We’re taking the lessons of the past with us into the future. Never again shall ideologies of inequality poison our coexistence. We are committed to making the Transformation Centre a place for all people.

Working with what we have

The climate crisis dramatically demonstrates the need for rethinking: a limited CO2 budget, overloading of ecological and social systems, and planetary boundaries. We learn from this that we cannot claim new space to create something new. It has to be built on what exists; it has to compensate for destruction and bring life back to neglected places. Tempelhofer Feld, especially the airport building, are places where this must happen. Explosive ordnance and paraffin contamination must be removed, and the buildings must be restored using sustainable architecture techniques. The field and the building can then become the place that proves that socio-ecological reconstruction is possible, and even increases our quality of life.

We need agriculture in the city

Detroit has shown the way, Albi, Paris and Amsterdam are following suit: socio-ecological transformation is possible if we blur the boundaries between urban and rural space. It is important that food production is also implemented in the cities, as only with regional supply cycles will we become independent. With its enormous area, the outer ring of Tempelhofer Feld offers enough space to test this. Of course, this area is not enough to supply the whole of Berlin. Our focus is on education and training, which also facilitates the establishment of a farm in the surrounding area. Such a plan can only be developed holistically and by involving the people of Brandenburg.

Berlin, we love you

The television tower is a landmark of Berlin, but also that of a historical epoch that is coming to an end. Tall buildings as symbols of imposing technological achievements have long since ceased to fit the practical and unagitated progressive thinking of Berliners. The THF field and house stand for the people, for a meeting at eye level and for creative use – they are like Berlin. As a transformation centre for all, they have what it takes to become Berlin’s contemporary and much more fitting landmark.

Everywhere, especially here, is the best place

In our view, every region needs such a transformation centre to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Rural regions are also facing profound structural changes. Berlin as a metropolitan region is particularly vulnerable to supply bottlenecks and mass unemployment. Due to its special nature, the capital has the responsibility and the opportunity to initiate transformation.